Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why

Before my father-in-law passed, somebody asked me, "why?" Why meaning, why did he have to lose his mind and capacities to Alzheimers? Why did we have to struggle so hard to get him back after somebody preyed on his weakness and took him from us? Why was it so hard to take care of him? Why us? What could possibly be learned? So many whys?

I don't know why, but I know "what" taking care of Grandpa has done for my family. Selfishness, pride and impatience have been weeded from our hearts. We have learned to love unconditionally and to find joy in the moment and happiness in simple things. And when there was no joy or happiness to be found, taking care of Grandpa taught us to turn to the Savior who promises to "wipe away tears from off all faces"(see Isaiah 25:8). We learned to trust, to believe, to have faith when we couldn't see the end from the beginning. These things can't be learned from a text book or from the mouths of others, but only by experience.

Now that he's gone I feel disconnected from my surroundings, yet at the same time, keenly aware of the world around me--the stirring breeze, sunbeams of light sifting through a room, the honk of returning geese, the sun warming my back, the earthy smell of fertile soil, the blossoms on my pear tree that appeared the day he left like flowers from heaven.

We used to walk around the temple by his care center. We talked about what his wife, Maxine might be doing. We wondered what we might do when we joined her. We made a pact. If I died first I would come back and tell him what heaven was like. If he died first, he would come back and tell me. On his death bed, I kissed his brow, held his hand and reminded him about our pact.

And now I wonder if he were to gently tell me of heaven, if he might not send a gentle breeze, a beam of sunlight or white, fragrant blossoms. Or perhaps he would let me witness the very best qualities in my children and experience a little bit of heaven on earth.







Monday, March 28, 2016

To Go No More Out


video
When my oldest grandchild Charlotte held my newest grandchild, Jocelyn, her sister, in her arms, she cried, kissed her on the head and whispered I love you. Then in a moment that I didn't catch on video, but I caught with my heart, she said, "I am so proud of you. You made it. You are here."

I've thought about those words a lot lately. I thought about little Jocelyn leaving heaven. She has family there--grandparents, aunts, uncles--were they sad to see her leave? Will they miss her until she returns?

I think about my father-in-law. He got kicked out of his nursing home. Again. He is violent and combative, only he really isn't. He's scared and doesn't remember who he is or who anyone around him is, so he is defensive and afraid. I am sad to see him go yet remain here at the same time.

I watched the video of my youngest son's birth today. I gasped when I saw my mom who has been dead for almost ten years, standing in my hospital room. My heart skipped a beat as I watched myself give Luke his first bath while casually talking to my mother-in-law who has been gone for 6 1/2 years.

I am so proud of them. They made it. They are there. I feel their presence and influence in my life from time to time and feel that they are proud of me here. I am proud of my father-in-law who is stuck between two worlds and is neither here nor there, but must endure to the end.

Oh how I long for the day, how I pray for the day when we will all be reunited, when we will all be home, welcomed by our Savior hopefully with the words, "I am so proud of you. You made it. You are here," to go no more out.

". . . in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb." Alma 34:36

Because of Him, someday we will go no no more out. In my book, that is Heaven. Happy Easter.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Just Leave

About 28 years ago, I had a baby. I almost didn't have him. Early in my pregnancy I had a lot of hemorrhaging. The doctor told me I didn't have a viable pregnancy--no living fetus-- and that I needed a D&C (medical abortion).  Alone, (hubby was out of town of course), I checked into the hospital to get one. Something didn't seem right. I called the doctor 3 times asking clarifying questions. The doctor did not appreciate being called 1 time, let alone 3. Then my mother-in-law called me, kind of a miracle considering this was back in the days when phones were firmly attached to walls. Forget about cell phones, cordless phones weren't even around. She gave me some great advise: "Leave. If something doesn't feel right, leave."

I didn't even have time to sit up before 2 orderlies came to wheel me to surgery. I told them I wasn't having it. They weren't happy. Yes, I knew I'd already signed the papers, and I still wasn't having it. Shaking, I left the hospital.

A few weeks later and 2,000 miles away, I saw another doctor who told me that I'd been carrying twins and miscarried one, but the other one, my son, was alive and well.

Now, 28 years later, almost to the day, that same son and his wife had twins, a boy and a girl. The twins were welcomed by a 2 year old and 4 year old sister.





I look at my son, his wife, and my four adorable grand babies and think that they wouldn't be a part of my life if I didn't leave. Such a simple action with HUGE consequences.

If something doesn't seem right, leave. Great advice then, great advice now.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Enabling Power

Hey, I just remembered about this thing and my New Year's Resolution from 2015 to blog once a week. . .  so. here. I. am.

I was going to blog about how Christmas kicked my butt--like it does every year. It was good too. It's just hard being me, (unorganized, forgetful, insomniac, chocoholic) at Christmas time. But I'm not going to.

I also thought about sending out my 2016 Christmas card via my blog now because then I wouldn't have to do it in December. But maybe next time.

I thought about blogging about how I finally managed to run a mile. It was a 14 minute mile. . . but, butt. . . I did it. I was feeling pretty good and then my friend said, "Do you know you're running on an incline?" I was stoked because I still had gas (the energy kind mostly)  and I was running uphill. Unfortunately, when she said incline, what she was really politely saying was decline. She flattened my route and I felt like I was running into a headwind or a semi-truck. Blah. But I finished.

I could write about my new haircut which is kind of spiky on top. After spending forever getting it to spike, a kind lady said to me, "Excuse me, your hair is sticking straight up." And instead of saying, "I know, I flattened it. But I'm not going to write about that either.

I'm going to write about how I went to visit my father-in-law last week. In case you can't remember, or you don't usually read my blog, or you have part-timers, I will remind you that my father-in-law has Alzheimers.

But then this happened.

I went to see Grandpa after going to the temple. He was sitting at the table getting ready to eat lunch. I said to him, “So, did Ric come and visit you today?” (He did.) Dad got mad at me and told me that he wasn’t stupid. I told him I didn’t think he was stupid. He was still angry and mumbled some more things that weren’t nice. I tried to change the subject by talking about when he went to watch his granddaughter play basketball. He got even more agitated and told me that I didn’t know anything about basketball and that I wasn’t even a team player. He kept yelling. . .

I’ve had him angry at me before, but I’ve usually been able to calm him down and get him talking about something familiar. This time, though, I couldn’t get through to him at all. He just kept yelling. I started crying. It hurt so much more than I expected.  Still crying, I went to leave.  One of the workers, Linda, gave me a big hug and told me it wasn’t really my dad. I knew that, but the hurt was real and strong. I came home and cried for another hour.

When G-Pa first came to live with us, it rocked my world. I finally found strength to cope by living and experiencing joy in the moment. But in that moment with him, there was absolutely no joy. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. How did I not see this coming? 


Things are better now. Well, they aren’t better, but I’m better. I taught the lesson in YW. It was on the Savior. I was drawn to the part about the enabling power of the atonement.

I got to study awesome scriptures like these:

Isaiah 41:
10 ¶Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
13 For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Mathew 11:
28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

John 14:
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Philippians 4: 
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Mosiah 24:
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

Alma 27:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Alma 36:
3 And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.


Ether 12:
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Surely, He has borne my griefs and carried my sorrows. (Isaiah 53:4) 

The atonement is real. Christ is real. And because it's real and He's real, I can do hard things and be okay.  And that my friends is nothing short of miraculous.

G-Pa and Ric in the "better" days.